U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) today offered several amendments to cut wasteful spending at the Department of Energy (DOE) in the 2010 Energy and Water Appropriations bill. Amendment 1879 would have reduced the appropriation for Departmental Administration of the Department of Energy so that the Department can set an example for all Americans by reducing unnecessary energy usage. Amendment 1884 would have required all contracts, grants awarded under this act be competitively bid instead of earmarked according to the arbitrary preferences of members of Congress.
"I am disappointed that many of my colleagues who embrace global warming theory refused to support an amendment requiring DOE to lead by example in reducing energy usage," Dr. Coburn said regarding amendment 1879 which was rejected by a vote of 35 to 62.
The Department of Energy is designated as the lead federal agency for energy efficiency efforts. In this role, the Department coordinates energy efficiency efforts for all federal agencies, and is also the primary outlet for federal energy efficiency programs and enforcement for the private sector. Despite this central role, the Department is the largest consumer of energy among all federal civilian agencies (excluding the postal service) and unlike most other agencies, has actually increased its energy usage in the most recent reporting period.
The Department of Energy's Inspector General found at least $13.8 million in wasted energy costs due to inefficient technology and poor temperature controls at the agency. This amendment would have reduced administrative funds at the Department of Energy by $13.8 million in order to encourage them to lead by example in reducing their energy usage.
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"I'm also disappointed that Congress continues to believe it has a right to direct taxpayer dollars based on the whims of politicians rather than on the basis of a transparent competitive bidding process. Congress will never regain the trust and confidence of the American people as long as it continues to protect its so-called right' to pick and choose winners and losers on the basis of politics," Dr. Coburn said regarding amendment 1884, which was defeated by a vote of 26 to 71.